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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 1 - Introduction

Treatment Introduction
In recent years, due to earlier detection and more effective treatments, many women diagnosed with breast cancer overcome the disease and go on to live healthy lives.

Treatment Options Recommended By Your Health Care Provider
It’s important to understand the different types of treatment options available to you, because you are an integral part of your decision-making team. Your medical team will advocate certain treatments, but they will also seek your input.

They will recommend a plan based on:
- Stage of cancer and whether or not it has spread
- Type of cancer, and status of the estrogen, progesterone, or HER2/neu receptors found in the cancer cells
- Your age, health, and menstrual/menopausal stage
- And whether or not this is your first cancer treatment

In general, there are five treatment options, and most treatment plans include a combination of the following:
1) Surgery
2) Radiation
3) Hormone Therapy
4) Chemotherapy
5) Targeted Therapies

Some are local, targeting just the area around the tumor with surgery or radiation. Others are systemic, targeting your whole body with cancer-fighting agents such as chemotherapy.

Most women receive a combination of treatments, but each case is unique, and your medical team will work to find the most effective treatment for you.

Getting A Second Opinion
Even so, you may find yourself second-guessing their recommendations or suggested treatment plan. If you’re hesitant for any reason, you should get the opinion of another doctor before beginning treatment. Your doctor will not mind if you want a second opinion; some insurance plans even require it.

Again, don’t hesitate to ask your medical team questions. When it comes to getting a second opinion, you are your own best advocate.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    Does any one have experience with dcis and breast implants? How does this affect surgery and treatment? My tumor is on pectoral muscle so they need to take part of the muscle. How did radiation affect implants? Any advice?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Donna Gray Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had DCIS cancer. Noninvasive . I had a bilateral mastectomy with saline implants. No chemo or radiation. The mastectomy was the only treatment I had. Have they already told you you have to have radiation?

      Comment
    • Donna Gray Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I have heard you have reconstruction after radiation. Radiation makes your skin pretty thin so that may affect reconstruction.

      Comment
  • Kim Wallis Profile

    Has anyone experienced loose motions, fatigue and weight loss while on Tamoxifen?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am not taking Tamoxifen but I am pretty sure those of us taking that drug can give you a bunch of side effects. I would talk to your oncologist about the side effects and also talk to your pharmacist. I have received wonderful information from my pharmacist that I didn't get from my doctor. ...

      more

      I am not taking Tamoxifen but I am pretty sure those of us taking that drug can give you a bunch of side effects. I would talk to your oncologist about the side effects and also talk to your pharmacist. I have received wonderful information from my pharmacist that I didn't get from my doctor. Good luck to you and hang in there!

      Comment
    • Helen Schuchhardt Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I wish I had weight loss!! Instead, I have gained about 1/2 lb a week since I have been on Tamoxifen! (About 2 months now). My Oncologist did say that different people have different reactions. Yes, I have been very tired too. But, I have maintained a pretty rigorous workout schedule and that...

      more

      I wish I had weight loss!! Instead, I have gained about 1/2 lb a week since I have been on Tamoxifen! (About 2 months now). My Oncologist did say that different people have different reactions. Yes, I have been very tired too. But, I have maintained a pretty rigorous workout schedule and that helps a little bit. My Oncologist reminded me of the stress we all go through with the cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments and it will take time to bounce back.

      Good Luck Friend!

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    What is the difference between an "open excisional biopsy" and a lumpectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    about 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      If you have the open excisional biopsy done in a hospital or same day surgery center that has a in-house pathologist they are able to send the specimen to have it evaluated during your biopsy the surgeon will be able to remove tissue until he/she gets clean margins. I had an open excisional...

      more

      If you have the open excisional biopsy done in a hospital or same day surgery center that has a in-house pathologist they are able to send the specimen to have it evaluated during your biopsy the surgeon will be able to remove tissue until he/she gets clean margins. I had an open excisional biopsy with clean margins had my path results that same day. Had further surgery only because I chose to have bilateral subcutaneous mastectomies Instead of radiation. Basically lumpectomy is similar to open excisional biopsy the difference is the facility it is done in and if a pathologist is available to read the specimens at time of the procedure. I know of women having lumpectomies and needed further surgery as no pathologist was available at the time of surgery and clean margins where not given when pathologist reviewed the specimen

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Lumpectomy removes tumor and margins and more than likely sentinel lymph nodes to test for cancer invasion.

      Comment
  • julie s Profile

    Halfway through chemo... Hot flashes- really "head flashes"-hot flashes in my head- have been getting increasingly intense. Any suggestions how to alleviate or at least make more tolerable?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Julie,
      I have great empathy for you because I live with this every single day for the past ten years. I am on a hormone blocking drugs and sweat just pours off of my face, drips off my chin....oh so lovely. I just carry a paper towel with me everywhere, and sit in front of my trusty fan when I...

      more

      Julie,
      I have great empathy for you because I live with this every single day for the past ten years. I am on a hormone blocking drugs and sweat just pours off of my face, drips off my chin....oh so lovely. I just carry a paper towel with me everywhere, and sit in front of my trusty fan when I am sitting at my computer, watching tv, in the kitchen when I am cooking or washing dishes... I have small fans all over the house. It is the only way I can cope. My onc. tried me on a drug that was supposed to make them better and it works for some women.... "Effexor" for me, it didn't do a thing. I went through menopause... with all the night sweats, and hot flashes and this has been about 10 years worth of sweating. Ask your onc. about something to help. Me, my papertowels, and my little electric fans.....sigh. BUT.... I'd rather put up with this and be cancer free. Good luck and I hope you find something that will help you.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • shen cruces Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Me too me too! I am just halfway done with radiation, and will do tamoxifen afterwards. Night sweats are the worst but it has gotten a little easier with time. I do see an acupuncturist and it helps.

      Comment

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